I’m happiest when I travel, but if I have to settle somewhere for a little while, I like that somewhere to be Santiago.
This is our final stop.
Actually, unfortunately, it’s not—we’re all going to fly back to Canada in a few days. It’s heartbreaking for me. I’m in love with Santiago.
What’s so special about Santiago? Honestly, nothing. Or rather, the city probably wouldn’t be special to you. Feng doesn’t understand why I love it, many backpackers find it boring too. Hell, I wouldn’t even recommend it to a first-time traveller with only a few weeks to spend in South America—there are other more exciting spots in Argentina, Peru or Brazil.
But I feel good in Santiago. From a practical perspective, it’s a good city if you want to relax. It’s safer than in Brazil, the weather is constant, life isn’t too expensive. I also enjoy the atmosphere, the wide sunny streets, the different neighbourhoods, the fresh food. It’s very walkable, big enough, fairly friendly.
But I won’t sell you Santiago. It’s just me, I suspect.
I like Santiago the same way some people love Paris, Tokyo, the desert, the mountains, or that small town in bumfuck nowhere. It’s irrational and I’m fine with that because I tend to think that we, humans, have been taught to be logical but once in a while, we don’t have to make sense and justify ourselves.
Okay, I do have a theory—the bed theory.
How do you sleep at night? Bedsheets tucked, untucked, none? I make my bed military style and the bedsheet has to be tucked in tight at the bottom and on both sides—it makes me feel safe and anchored. I try my best not to mess up my cocoon and I’ve been known to remake hotel beds. I’m always in motion during the day but I usually wake up in the same position I fell asleep in, the sheets barely wrinkled—I think I roll over once or twice, like a pancake, that’s it.
At one point, after visiting enough cities around the world, I noticed I felt most comfortable staying in places with one or two physical boundaries—ocean, rivers, mountains, hills, a bay, a section of the Great Wall. I’m not a huge fan of dots in vast, flatlands. I wouldn’t live in the Prairies, for instance, and I like Beijing better than Paris.
In Santiago, I’m tucked in between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes. It feels cozy. Big, open spaces freak me out. I hate cold weather. I’d rather live in a cozy apartment than in a big house. See a pattern, here? Yeah, Canada and Ottawa are a bit of a challenge. I learned to like Canada—and some aspects of it are awesome—but honestly, without Feng, I probably wouldn’t have considered moving there.
Unfortunately, “I feel good in Santiago” doesn’t sound like a valid reason for a complete life change.
Meanwhile, I’m wandering around Santiago, wondering about life. My feet know where to go but I’m lost.